The MINI manual transmission is dead on the MINI Cooper. With the end of F56 production this February, the manual has left the MINI line-up for good. None of this is new if you’ve been reading MotoringFile but the reality for many is just setting. Why has MINI made this move? Here’s the full story.

Why Is MINI Killing the Manual?

MINI is killing the manual because of CO2 emissions and regulations in the European Union. Having spoken with plenty of MINI employees over the past year it’s clear to us that this was not a decision they wanted to make. On the face of it the F56’s Getrag six speed could have easily been carried over to the new F66 due to the almost identical drivetrain. But the realities of meeting the ever evolving emissions standards in the EU made that choice nearly impossible.

mini manual transmission dead

The reason is the way that the EU tests for CO2 output. While manuals can theoretically be cleaner than an auto, it all depends on how they’re driven. The tests that the EU perform essentially highlight the fact that the manual has limitless variability in the way it can be operated. Where an automatic can be programmed to be completely in-sync with the engine and thus control CO2 output, the manual injects the fatal flaw of human control. That variable means that there could be a higher C02 output depending on how the car is driven. The way the EU executes its tests, these variables are amplified which means the manual (in the eyes of the EU) creates more C02 than a well engineered automatic. Even if, that might not be the case if operated properly.

MINI Launches the MINI Manual Driving School

MINI could have said to hell with it but every brand has C02 targets to meet fleet wide and there’s simply not room for any extra C02 output within the ranks of the BMW Group. From Rolls Royce to BMW l, there are many cars with high output engines that produce a lot of C02. The MINI brand is essentially helping the entire group bring down its average by being economical. Cutting the manual furthers that in the eyes of the EU.

What about markets like US, where CO2 targets don’t have the same impact? The idea that MINI could continue to offer the manual in the US and other markets is a tempting one. But the issue there is cost. Offering it one country means that the volumes go down dramatically which would raise the cost per unit. In doing so MINI would also lose a chance to simplify the production process just as it’s about to get more complex with new models. And that cost isn’t just about production but also support, parts and service for years to come.

While the decision is a logical one, it’s also a risky move for MINI. By the second half of 2023 over 50% of F56 JCW hardtops in the US were equipped with the manual transmission. It’s also a huge part of the brand’s history and slots well into the MINI’s core philosophy of creating cars that are engaging the drive. It’s one of those core brand attributes that gave MINI credibility in the eyes of enthusiasts.

The Replacement – The Getrag 7 Speed DCT

Moving forward all internal combustion MINIs will be offered with two versions of the same 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The standard transmission will be called the Automatic DCT Transmission and will have shifting algorithm meant for everything from relaxed to mildly spirited driving. It will not come with steering wheel mounted paddles. The optional transmission is officially called the Sport Automatic DCT. It will have quicker shifts and will offer an even more aggressive algorithm in GoKart mode. It will also come standard with steering wheel mounted paddles.

F66 Cooper SU25 Countryman JCW
Gearbox ratio – 1st14.96416,991
Gearbox ratio – 2nd8.77610,588
Gearbox ratio – 3rd5.4567,076
Gearbox ratio – 4th3.7854,910
Gearbox ratio – 5th2.9724,001
Gearbox ratio – 6th2.3453,273
Gearbox ratio – 7th1.92,522
Gearbox ratio – R13.44116,323
Gear ratios for the new F66 Cooper S & U25 Countryman JCW

We’ve already driven this new version of the DCT in the recent release U25 2025 MINI Countryman JCW. Our initial impressions were very positive. It’s a smoother transmission than the previous Aisin 8 speed but not necessarily quick shifting compared to other DCTs on the market. That said the manual controls (via the steering wheel mounted paddles) do work well and give you full manual control. That means in sport mode when you forget to shift, the car will not shift for you.

The R53 Cooper S equipped with a manual and the JCW Tuning Kit.

MotoringFile’s Take

For us the manual transmission is a critical connection to a car that begs for involvement from the driver. Yes it’s old technology that has no logical place in a modern automobile. But there’s a reason that both Hyundai and Toyota and even BMW (if rumors are to believed) are working on manual transmissions for EVs. It creates engagement and connection with the car. It requires skill and practice that demand a driver treat the experience of driving with a respect that automatics or typical EVs don’t. And from that you get joy. The joy knowing that you and the car are in sync. And that you, the driver are solely responsible for engaging the right gear, in the right way, for the right moment.